A Science – not a religion

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A Science – not a religion

Pura Vida in Spanish means “Pure Life” and this is the law of the land in Costa Rica and is an expression that is used in many forms from a greeting to a synonym for “excellent”. Life is wonderful and enjoy it. “The world is going through a lot of havoc in the Kali Yuga and as long as we remain connected to whom we are and know where we are going and why we will help balance the chaos. Yoga is one of the many options to do this. Yoga is not a religion but a science and art and it can benefit all humanity, says Ambassador of the Republic of Costa Rica, Mariela Cruz Alvarez.

Photo Credit: Jorge Scott

Excerpts from a interview:

Would you please tell us about your upbringing and schooling ?

I was born and raised in Costa Rica and my initial upbringing was done in this beautiful surrounding. My parents are very dedicated and caring people, so i received the best education. I went to a private bilingual school and started to practise piano and ballet at 5, thanks to my mother. Then i graduated in my Law degree and then had three masters degree in Law: one in Commercial Law, one in family law in Italy, and the last one in Environmental Law.

I got married at 21 and at 25 years I already had my first two children: Hernan and Adriana. Never anticipated I would eventually be the happy mother of 7 amazing human beings: 6 boys and one girl. I practised yoga a little bit on my own while pregnant mainly because there was no such a thing as a yoga studio or prenatal yoga in San José. Found Yoga at a gym, all shattered after a very difficult marriage with four small children and a painful divorce.

At that crucial time yoga changed my life. All blessings come from this amazing transformational practice.

Photo Credit: Jorge Scott

What are the main reasons which turned you towards reading religious books and your main source of inspiration. Tell us about your journey.

Since very small i used to have a natural inclination towards spirituality that goes on until now. My favourite story books were Joan of Arch and Lourdes’ Little Shepherds. My mother started practising yoga when I was 8 years old. She used to take me to her class and while she practised i played in the backyard. There was a Rosicrucian temple in there and I would see white and bright figures walking around. Eventually, also started practising. Back then there were almost no places where to learn yoga in Costa Rica.

I found the practice of Ashtanga in Costa Rica in 2002 through a teacher from Ohio. Both the strength and softness in her practice impressed me. I started teaching and then came to India and fell in love with this country. Ashtanga gave me back the vitality and energy I had lost. My teachers taught me the art of calming my mind through my body.

This practice is a dance for me. Yoga is a technology to cultivate the joy of living and an art to discover the inherent harmony of our Self at all times.

Photo Credit: Jorge Scott

What is your opinion about the people from India who come to Costa Rica ?

Costa Rica has an Indian population of 200 in 5 million people. But these 200 people have engaged a larger population of Costa Ricans to be looking at India with high esteem for cultural, technological and economic reasons. Costa Rica is known as a jewel in Central America region for its natural beauty, peace and economical stability which have also led to expansion of seekers of healthy lifestyle. The Indian friends that I know are hard-working people, dedicated and lovers of my country. I feel positive more visitors from India will appreciate very much our hospitality and great outdoors.

“The world is going through a lot of havoc in the Kali Yuga and as long as we remain connected to whom we are and know where we are going and why we will help balance the chaos.”

Yes, all the answers are inside of our souls. I feel happy because I have travelled extensively teaching my art in America, Europe and Asia. Many of my students have been to our yoga school in Mysore, Karnataka, not only from Costa Rica but also from many other countries in Latin America.

I have been the Yoga Ambassador for the past 15 years and I have had the great privilege to represent a serious lineage and Parampara from my teachers.


Photo Credit: Jorge Scott

Any other issue you would like to speak about ?

India and Costa Rica enjoy friendly and cordial relations. The Third Round of Political Consultations will take place next November 2017 in San José and we are looking forward to that. A lot of possibilities will open from this event.

As you said that in your personal life you were having crisis ,so how you overcame those?

In my personal life i´ve had many crises and I know I have come out stronger and wiser from each one of them. It is through deep crisis that we learn to love deeply. That we appreciate from the bottom of our hearts, human mixture of light and darkness. It is through the crisis that we find our connection is the only place to turn to and understand this paradox. When everything gets dark outside we have the perfect opportunity to go within and integrate.

This crisis is the best thing that could happen to all the spiritual searchers. Now, we need to get serious and ask ourselves if our actions are matching our beliefs. Because there is definitely an external force that doesn´t want us to thrive, that wants to kill every drop of faith and love and it´s ready to strike.

I just had a major health crisis here in Delhi. It was very hard for me to be away from my family, in hospital. But I also found the best medical care, the most loving friends. Crisis brings a lot of havoc but also a lot of transformation.

“Only through our awareness our children will survive.” You said this so kindly explain this.

I think of my grandchild. What kind of world is he going to inherit? What can I do to create space for his dreams? How can I be more loyal to mine, less attached to outcomes and just give it all despite the risk? Love is the only answer. We will never give up. I will never give up, that is my promise to my beautiful Azul.

Dark times require furious, intense and absolute commitment. Those of us who are convinced there is no other way: we are ready to love more. All the way and never ever get tired. No matter how hard, no matter how many sacrifices we will encounter. Love requires unlimited faith and hope is our only salvation right now.

What is your message to the people of India and what is the future prospects of these two countries India and Costa Rica.

My message to the people of India is very simple: whatever are your circumstances stick with your spiritual values as they will give you inner strength, no matter what. You have a great example of sadhana and commitment in your PM Mr Modi.

Our friendship as countries could bring a lot of opportunities, blending proactive diplomacy, address issues like enhancing connectivity and leverage win-win opportunities, especially in areas like agriculture, nutritional processing, textiles, transport and energy, not to mention IT. But this is secondary compared to all the human growth we can do together, sharing our common values for democracy, freedom, respect towards all sentient beings.

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